Adventure Cycling Association Forum

Bicycle Travel => Gear Talk => Topic started by: Cat on February 18, 2013, 06:32:36 am

 
Title: Touring bikes...
Post by: Cat on February 18, 2013, 06:32:36 am
Hello!

I have started to plan my very first tour on a bike  :)

I´m looking for a bike to ride the TransAm this sommer. I´ve read some of the previous threads about touring bikes here but decided to bring it up again, since I have some questions that aren´t brought up in those treads.

Are there any touring bikes that are known to be more comfortable for women, with women´s geometry?

I wish to travel fairly light. I figure it will add up to 10-15 kg (20-30 lbs) or so. Bikes like Surley LHT seems nice but they are built to carry much more weight than that - so maybe I can do with a lighter bike?

I also find it hard to decide whether I should buy the bike here in Sweden or in the US. Buying it in Sweden would give me time to get used to it (I normally ride a very light carbon) but it would be much more expensive, the variety of bikes would be limited and then some hassle bringing it over (extra charge and the great risk of delay and disappearing). It might be easier to buy the bike in the US and just bring my own saddle..
And if so - does anyone here know of a good bike store in or close to Portland?

This may be a very very stupid question but the most common answer is that you have to try out different bikes carefully and see if you like them or not. How does that work? Do the stores lend you the bikes or do they put you up on a trainer in the store?

Every little bit of information is very much appreciated!

Greetings!
Cat
Title: Re: Touring bikes...
Post by: Pat Lamb on February 18, 2013, 09:36:30 am
Interesting questions, Cat.  I'll tackle some, and I'm sure others will put in their two cents.

Outside of recumbents, there's two things that could affect comfort differently for a woman than a man: frame dimensions and saddle.  Many of us get the saddle we like (Brooks for me!) and put them on all our bikes.  Many women have shorter torsos relative to leg length, so some bicycles for women are made with shorter top tubes for a given seatpost length than the corresponding seatpost-sized bike for men.  Terry makes some in racing and touring geometry, and Trek has some women-specific models, but Trek's WSD line doesn't include their touring bike (520).  If you're not an extreme case, some of the difference can be made up if your dealer will swap the stem for a shorter one, but this may affect the handling in extreme cases.

If you buy a stock touring specific model, everything is tilted towards reliability with a heavier load, and the bike ends up heavier as a result.  The frame and fork on the Surly LHT is perhaps 2 pounds heavier than your carbon frame and fork, but you'll also get attachments for racks; heftier tires that carry more weight at lower pressure, cushion the ride, and wear long (and may resist flats better); wheels with more spokes that can support the load without breaking spokes (you hope!) and won't be unrideable if a spoke does break; and rims to support the tires.  If you buy a full custom bike, you can get the latest lightweight components, but most stock touring bikes back down a level or two, and the cheaper components add a pound or two.  Note that you often need to allow 2-6 months lead time to buy full custom, and you pay an extra $2,000.

Do you need all that?  Maybe not, but be very careful trying to carry 20-30 pounds extra on a lightweight carbon bike.  It's not built to carry a load, and you may well induce shimmy or break the bike if you load it up.  The alternative is to carry the load on your back, and I, for one, would not even consider carrying a 30-pound backpack on a bike.  It would be hot, sweaty, and can injure your back.

How did you buy your current bike?  Buying a touring bike can be like that, if you can find a store that has them in your size in stock.  Leave them with a credit card or ID, take it out for a spin, see if you like it.  Or hop on a trainer and see if it fits you.  There are a couple of extra "gotchas" with a touring bike.  First, not many stores carry them, and they often sell out early in the season.  By the end of May, they're usually gone.  Second, especially if you carry substantial weight in a handlebar bag or front panniers, the handling loaded will be different than unloaded handling, so the test rides where you picked out your favorite won't mean anything for loaded riding.  (I named my bike Iron Pig because it was made of steel and handled like a pig...)

I won't address the buy and train at home vs. buy on site and ride question; I think there's arguments to be made on either side, but it boils down to your choice.

Pat

P.S.  Just thought of Bruce Gordon (bgcycles.com).  You might see if one of the semi-custom BLTs he has left would fit you.  He was featured in the latest Adventure Cycling magazine, and I bet he could sell you a bike now and ship it to your starting point for when you're ready to leave.
Title: Re: Touring bikes...
Post by: paddleboy17 on February 18, 2013, 12:34:19 pm
I personally cannot imagine showing up, buying a bike, and then doing the TransAmerica.  I know some people just hop on a bike and ride, but I am bit more cautious than that.

So I think there is an argument for buying a bike in Sweden, doing some test tours, and then shipping your gear to the US.  You might not be traveling as light as you think will be traveling.

Lots of people ride LHTs as their only bike, and I am sure that one would suit you just fine if the local bike shop can get the fit right. 

Should you be a challenge to fit, I might make a plug for Gunnar.  Gunnar is the more off the shelf brand for Waterford bikes.  A favorite bike shop of mine has a large client base of petite Hispanic women, that have all been fitted with Gunnar bikes.   I have no idea how a bike shop in the Detroit suburbs of Michigan developed a large client base of petite Hispanic women, but they are all happily riding Gunnar bikes.

Title: Re: Touring bikes...
Post by: John Nelson on February 18, 2013, 01:13:47 pm
Even though you perhaps don't need a touring bike for 30 pounds of gear, you might want one anyway for all the reasons Pat mentioned. And even though 30 pounds of gear might be a bit lighter than average, it's certainly not ultralight. In addition to the sturdier wheels with more spokes, you may also appreciate the longer chainstays and clearance for wider tires that you get with a touring bike. It is true that the touring bike may be a bit heavier than you need, but it's a small compromise to gain the other advantages.

I don't know of any manufacturer that makes a WSD touring bike. There just isn't enough volume in touring bikes to justify it.

I also think it makes sense to buy the bike before you leave. Check on the airline charges for bringing your bike, but on many airlines, international airline charges are much more reasonable than domestic airline charges for a bike. It may even be free. If you do want to buy a bike after you get here, negotiate the deal before you leave home with a U.S. bike shop to make sure that they will have what you want in stock when you arrive. Most bike shops in the U.S. do not keep touring bikes on the floor.

We have multiple Portlands. I assume you mean the one in Oregon. Portland is a very bike-friendly city and has many fine bike shops. Bike shops will allow you to take bikes out on a ride to evaluate them. They don't want you to be gone all day, but you're going to need 20 or 30 minutes on it to do a fair evaluation.
Title: Re: Touring bikes...
Post by: RussSeaton on February 18, 2013, 01:48:40 pm
You have a bike now that fits.  Right?  So you know its geometry.  Find the 5 or 6 touring bikes sold in the world on the website and compare their geometry to your bike.  You should be able to find one that fits.  Then find a Portland bike shop that sells that brand.  Buy it and arrange for them to have it when you land.  And ask about racks too.  Assume you will bring your own panniers from Sweden.

All touring bikes are very similar.  Whether you have the first five rides on it in Sweden or the US won't make any difference.  20+ years ago I started a long loaded tour with a bike I had ridden 3-4 times total.  Loaded once.  Worked just fine.  Realized years later it fit awful.  But that did not matter.  I still rode it just fine.  So having a perfectly fitting bike is not necessary.  Or having a bike you are familiar with.  Any bike will work.  Riding with loaded panniers is not some mythical and mysterious technique.  You ride the same.  Bike is heavier and slower, but you ride it the same.  In five minutes you will be familiar with it.

Now I'm not exactly advising you to buy the bike in the US.  By the time you pick up the bike in the US, get it fitted.  Get racks and bags on it.  Test ride it a bit.  You will add 2-3-4 extra days at the start of the trip.  You have to pay for that lodging.  So the extra $2-300 in lodging you pay is the same amount of money you saved by buying the bike in the US instead of Sweden.  You don't come out ahead either way.  Might as well get a bike in Sweden and bring it to the US and start the trip the day after you arrive.  Save hundreds in lodging costs.

20-30 pounds of gear is not exactly lightweight.  So a full on loaded touring bike will probably work just fine for you.  A lighter racier bike will not be much easier or nicer to ride and may have compromises with your gear weight.  I have a touring bike and racing bikes.  The racing bikes are nicer to ride unloaded.  But the touring bike rides OK too.  So you may be wise to just get a loaded touring bike.
Title: Re: Touring bikes...
Post by: staehpj1 on February 18, 2013, 03:52:45 pm
20-30 pounds of gear is not exactly lightweight.  So a full on loaded touring bike will probably work just fine for you.  A lighter racier bike will not be much easier or nicer to ride and may have compromises with your gear weight.  I have a touring bike and racing bikes.  The racing bikes are nicer to ride unloaded.  But the touring bike rides OK too.  So you may be wise to just get a loaded touring bike.
Having gone from 45 or 50 pounds to 12 pounds or so base gear weight in several steps over the course of several long tours, I thought that it started to make sense to go from a touring bike to a road bike somewhere around 20 pounds base weight.  Just my opinion, but that seemed about right to me.
Title: Re: Touring bikes...
Post by: dkoloko on February 18, 2013, 05:00:53 pm
There are basically two kinds of touring bikes, one for lightweight touring, credit card touring, moteling and eating in restaurants; other for fully loaded touring, camping, cooking. First typically has brifters, two waterbottle mounts, braze-ons for rear rack; other typically has bar end shifters, three waterbottle mounts, braze-ons for front and rear racks.

I would pick a bike from above, depending on type of touring you plan to do. Be forewarned, beginners typically underestimate how much weight they will carry.
Title: Re: Touring bikes...
Post by: staehpj1 on February 18, 2013, 05:48:32 pm
There are basically two kinds of touring bikes, one for lightweight touring, credit card touring, moteling and eating in restaurants; other for fully loaded touring, camping, cooking.
Those categories are increasingly becoming blurred.  There are a number of folks touring with full cooking and camping capabilities with loads that are equivalent to or even less than has in the past been the norm for credit card touring.  It is entirely possible to be quite self sufficient with a very light load.  Cooking and camping with base gear weights between 7 and 20 pounds is becoming somewhat common thanks to ultralight backpacking gear and techniques.
Title: Re: Touring bikes...
Post by: Old Guy New Hobby on February 18, 2013, 06:29:15 pm
When I went to buy mine, I was fortunate to have a shop nearby that had several different touring bikes in stock. When test riding, I found that one was way too twitchy for me. The specs were great. And it might well be a great bike for someone else. But it definitely wasn't the bike for me.  I only knew from the test ride.

If you decide you will buy in the US, you must decide whether you will test ride in Sweden, knowing you have already decided not to buy the bike from that shop.

If you buy in the US, you might want to plan a couple of days test riding near the shop before taking off across country. Any bike can have a manufacturer's defect. Any shop can make a mistake assembling the bike. A problem might not be detected until you load it up and hit the road.

No matter how heavy or light your gear, your bike will end up taking quite a pounding during your tour. I'm partial to steel frames because I think they do the best job of handling bumps in the road.
Title: Re: Touring bikes...
Post by: dkoloko on February 18, 2013, 07:07:06 pm
There are basically two kinds of touring bikes, one for lightweight touring, credit card touring, moteling and eating in restaurants; other for fully loaded touring, camping, cooking.
Those categories are increasingly becoming blurred.  There are a number of folks touring with full cooking and camping capabilities with loads that are equivalent to or even less than has in the past been the norm for credit card touring.  It is entirely possible to be quite self sufficient with a very light load.  Cooking and camping with base gear weights between 7 and 20 pounds is becoming somewhat common thanks to ultralight backpacking gear and techniques.


This is known. This doesn't change basic categories of touring bikes. It simply means one could hypothetically tour fully loaded on a light touring bike. Whether a beginner could manage that is a question. I question such ultralight fully loaded touring is "somewhat common". Based on fellow long distance bicycle tourers I have seen, it is not. For a beginner, my advice remains the same, choose the bike, based on which category I described is thought best. Then choose equipment. Based on my experience, choices in camping gear can change after each long tour,  and not necessarily for lighter equipment.
Title: Re: Touring bikes...
Post by: staehpj1 on February 19, 2013, 07:07:46 am
I question such ultralight fully loaded touring is "somewhat common". Based on fellow long distance bicycle tourers I have seen, it is not.

I agree that the term "somewhat common" is open to interpretation.  That said, I have started occasionally running into folks camping and cooking with 20 pounds or less of gear on their bikes.  Also there is a large enough following of the bikepacking movement to support specialty companies like Relevate.

For a beginner, my advice remains the same, choose the bike, based on which category I described is thought best. Then choose equipment.

Sensible advice, but not the only way to go.  They wouldn't go far wrong following that advice, but I'd rather figure out roughly what gear I want and then pick the bike and baggage to accommodate the gear.  I really don't see anything I did on my UL trips that couldn't be managed by a beginner.  That would be even more so for those coming to touring from backpacking.
Title: Re: Touring bikes...
Post by: bogiesan on February 19, 2013, 08:47:42 am
Recumbent. Maybe even a trike.

Touring by bicycle is a broad sports category, it is also entertainment and adventure. It is only about efficiency for some. For me, it's ALL about comfort. Many other excellent things follow in the wake of touring in comfort.

(full disclosure: I do not tour self-contained. My days of hauling my own gear and liking it are long behind me. I only do supported touring events these days. But touring on a recumbent is no different from touring on any other bike. Some of the equipment is a bit more specific and the bike is heavier unless, of course, you're running carbon.)

You won't find defintive answers here, just opinions based on our experiences and prejudices. There are many online resources for your research and you can read dozens of books on the topics of global bike travel and crossing the United States.

Hope you enjoy your trip!
Title: Re: Touring bikes...
Post by: John Nelson on February 19, 2013, 09:54:47 am
I'd rather figure out roughly what gear I want and then pick the bike and baggage to accommodate the gear.
+1
Title: Re: Touring bikes...
Post by: dkoloko on February 19, 2013, 12:54:13 pm
I'd rather figure out roughly what gear I want and then pick the bike and baggage to accommodate the gear.
+1

She's said she's estimated how much gear she'll be carrying. What do you want her to do now? Stop thinking about what bike to buy, and decide more specifically what she'll be carrying, and then decide on which bike?
Title: Re: Touring bikes...
Post by: dkoloko on February 19, 2013, 01:17:55 pm
I have started occasionally running into folks camping and cooking with 20 pounds or less of gear on their bikes.  Also there is a large enough following of the bikepacking movement to support specialty companies like Relevate.


Questioner said planned on carrying 20-30 lb, so no arguing with 20 lb, if she can do her trip with that light a load . I again note, in my experience, beginners underestimate load they will be carrying. Your previous post stated that it is viable traveling long distance fully loaded carrying weight as low as 7 lb. I again say such a target is optimistic for a beginner. Three full waterbottles can weigh 7 lb. When I weigh what I carry for traveling fully loaded long distance, I weigh the bike, ready to go, with waterbottles full, food on board, etc. I again maintain that at the moment ultralight fully loaded bicycle touring is a fringe element, not where I would direct a beginner seeking information trying to decide which type bike to buy.
Title: Re: Touring bikes...
Post by: Cat on February 19, 2013, 03:47:25 pm
Hello again and thank´s a lot for your thoughts!

Just booked the air ticket and will stay a couple of days in the area of Portland to handle possible jet lag and to fix other practical things like cell phone etc. And then there is this Northwest String Summit Music Festival during four days west of Portland, up in the mountains. That will give me the time to get used to the camping gear and so. Then I´m off!

I think I will try to get the bike in Sweden. It would be good, like you say, to really try it out and get a feeling for it before the TransAm. I just found a little store in Gothenburg that put touring bikes together based on customers wishes. He does have a Surley LTH and a Cross-Check at home and he talked about frames from Thorns. It is not exactly around the corner, he might be far too expensive, but I´m very exited to go and see what these Surleys are like.  :)
Title: Re: Touring bikes...
Post by: DaveB on February 19, 2013, 05:50:44 pm
Surly frames and complete bikes are very conventional.  They are TIG welded Cr-Mo steel and their geometry is very "middle of the road" so there is nothing unusual or unconventional about them.  What they offer is a combination of very reasonable prices and all of the fittings a tourist will need whicjh is why they are so popular. 

The LHT is their fully loaded tourer and the Cross Check would be a slightly lighter tourer but both have fittings for front and rear racks, fenders, wide tires, etc.  For the price, you can't do better.
Title: Re: Touring bikes...
Post by: RussSeaton on February 20, 2013, 04:14:53 pm
The LHT is their fully loaded tourer and the Cross Check would be a slightly lighter tourer but both have fittings for front and rear racks, fenders, wide tires, etc.  For the price, you can't do better.

Well...you probably can do better.  Surly/QBP thinks their stuff is gold plated.  The person who started this thread is from Sweden.  Not the US.  So if they buy a Surly in Europe they will pay that extra price.  Doing a search I found the Surly LHT for 945 Pounds in UK.  $1.55 per Pound equals $1465 for a LHT.  In the US the LHT costs $1275.  $190 upcharge for Britain.  Then I found a place in Sweden selling the LHT for 12699 Swedish Krona.  6.35 Krona per $1.  So that works out to $2000.  A $725 premium.  If you buy a Surly in Europe you are paying more than the US price.  A Surly may be a poor economic choice in Europe.  You can likely find a much lower cost alternative that will perform the same.  In the US the Surly LHT is competitive with others like the Trek 520, REI Novara Randonee, and othr touring bikes.  All are similar in price and components and function.  But in Europe Surly adds a premium because of its "American" name.  More than likely you will find other brands with the same function at a lower cost in Europe.

http://www.cyclecomponents.com/cgi-bin/air_ibutik.fcgi?avd=1&extra=&Ref=&funk=visa_artikel&artnr=SUR0458r

http://www.ukbikestore.co.uk/product/194/5sulh/surly-long-haul-trucker-complete-bike.html
Title: Re: Touring bikes...
Post by: John Grossbohlin on February 22, 2013, 08:15:21 pm
If your choice is to buy in the U.S. I'd be very careful about arranging the purchase well ahead of arriving in the U.S.... This as in my experience you cannot assume that touring bikes are in stock or even available from the distributors on short notice during the TransAm touring season. I ran into this problem in 2010 while looking for 2 bikes and in 2012 while looking for another one.  In 2010 I found Trek 520s but had to compromise on frame size by going a size smaller on one of them than what I wanted. In 2012 I went looking for a 3rd Trek 520 and ended up with a LHT. This time with a frame one size larger than desired and at the maximum that could be ridden safely. The 2012 experience happened in May but if I'd done it in March I could have had another Trek and could have gotten the frame sized I wanted in either...
Title: Re: Touring bikes...
Post by: dkoloko on February 24, 2013, 01:59:40 pm
I don't think much about trying a bike before buying. Local bike shop having touring bike I want in my size is remote. I have bought several bikes by mail. I don't get much from giving a bike few blocks trial ride. If you are having a bike ready for you here, know your size to order and allow time to make adjustments. Touring bikes are not that popular here; don't expect a number on floor for you to choose from. There may not be any. Order and pay in advance to know there will be a bike here for you. If rather order in Sweden that is your choice. You could save airfare by having to ship bike just one way.
Title: Re: Touring bikes...
Post by: Cat on March 13, 2013, 06:32:52 am
Many thanks for your advises!

So - I have decided to buy the bike in the US. It is so very much cheaper and also saves me the trouble and cost bringing it over. I would order it in advance.
I was going for a Surley LTH or a Surley Cross Check. I understand it would never be wrong, especially not with the Surley LTH.

But how about Specialized? How about this one?
http://www.specialized.com/us/en/bikes/road/secteur/secteurexpertdisccompact#specs

The fork and the saddle thing is made of carbon, and it has discbrakes. I don´t know about that.
I have a Specialized Roubaix – so it would practically be almost the same bike but this one is more for touring, well... kind of.
I guess I can get both the Cross Check and the Specialized Secteure with a triple crankset?
Or am I way off the road now??   ::)
Title: Re: Touring bikes...
Post by: Pat Lamb on March 13, 2013, 08:44:16 am
I haven't seen that Specialized in person, but when I clicked on it, my first question was, "How are you going to carry a load?"  The Cross Check and LHT (and any other "real" touring bike" have eyelets to mount a rack.  That capability, along with a bit more weight and reliability for the load, separate touring bikes from non-touring road bikes.

Of course, if you're going to put everything for an inn-to-inn (or motel-to-motel) tour in a great big Carradice saddle bag or the like, all this is moot.
Title: Re: Touring bikes...
Post by: John Nelson on March 13, 2013, 12:56:33 pm
I would order it in advance.
It's never too early to order. When I ordered my touring bike, it took 6 months to come in. But I ordered in June when the current year models were already sold out. If you order now, the current year models will likely still be available. The longer you wait, however, the greater the risk that the wait might be very long or you may have to settle for your second choice. Touring bikes are made in limited numbers because of limited demand.
Title: Re: Touring bikes...
Post by: Cat on March 13, 2013, 04:05:47 pm
No pdlamb, I´m not doing a motel trip. I do need a good bike. I´m just so afraid of getting to much a bike that it will feel too heavy. I tried a Surley Cross Check. I guess it felt pretty good, but like someone here said – riding around the block doesn´t give that much. The Cross Check has the 700 tires and with a triple crankset it is slightly lighter then the LTH.

The girl that bought the Specialized mentioned above, reasoned that she is very light herself (50 kg) so that she could easily bring another 20 kg on the bike without any problems. It is possible to put on fenders and racks both front and rear. I have to admit though that it doesn´t look that much ”stronger” than my own Spec Roubaix.

Ok – I should hurry up and decide and order...
Title: Re: Touring bikes...
Post by: RussSeaton on March 13, 2013, 05:23:55 pm
I suspect the Specialized bike you linked to would work OK for a loaded tour.  Might not be ideal though.  Gearing is 34x30 low.  Not super low for a loaded bike.  You could probably change the cassette and go lower but extra hassle.  Since your trip is a loaded tour with camping and cooking and you are carrying everything, it makes sense to get a loaded touring bike.  Surly LHT, Trek 520, REI Novara Randonneee are all candidates.  $1200-1500 in the US.  All are identical.  All will work fine.  Racks, fenders, bags, super low gearing is all possible with these.  Make sure you get super low gearing when you buy the bike.  You already have a Specialized racing bike.  So might as well get a strong, do everything loaded touring bike for its partner.  Use it for commuting and groceries when you get back home.  And riding across the USA here.

A loaded touring bike is probably what you want for a loaded tour.  If after you start you decide to go ultra light and carry minimal gear, that is good.  The bike will still work.  You won't notice a problem riding it.  Once you get some bags on a bike, they all ride the same.  10 pounds, 20 pounds, or 30 pounds.  They all ride sort of bad.  So having a light bike or a heavy bike won't matter.  When I say bad I don't mean awful, horrible, terrible.  Just bad as in not quick and agile and light.  Its got pounds of bags hanging on it.  Its no longer a quick lively bike.  Its a beast of burden.  You're not going to sprint up the hill carrying luggage on the bike.  So whether its the Surly LHT, or Cross Check, or that lighter Specialized bike, it makes no difference.
Title: Re: Touring bikes...
Post by: SlowAndSlower on March 13, 2013, 06:04:17 pm
I would check REI in Portland. They seem to have the Surly CrossCheck as well as their Novara touring bikes. Good return policy.http://www.rei.com/stores/portland.html (http://www.rei.com/stores/portland.html)
They should have most everything else you would need for a bike tour as well.
Title: Re: Touring bikes...
Post by: dkoloko on March 14, 2013, 08:34:00 pm
No pdlamb, I´m not doing a motel trip. I do need a good bike. I´m just so afraid of getting to much a bike that it will feel too heavy. I tried a Surley Cross Check. I guess it felt pretty good, but like someone here said – riding around the block doesn´t give that much. The Cross Check has the 700 tires and with a triple crankset it is slightly lighter then the LTH.

Ok – I should hurry up and decide and order...

This is the reason why in an earlier post I questioned directing the querist to the niche of ultra-lightweight bicycle camping. It is nearly a month since this woman posted her initial question, and she has yet to decide even the type of bike she should  buy. I suggested she concentrate on that. Touring bikes are best for bicycle touring. On Touring List, another online forum, using a cyclecross bike for touring often comes up. If that's all you have, tour on that. Buying new for touring, buy a touring bike. There should little weight difference between the popular touring bikes mentioned here. More weigh differences between sleeping bags, tents, etc, your next buying decisions if you don't have all of your bicycle camping gear.
Title: Re: Touring bikes...
Post by: John Nelson on March 14, 2013, 10:39:07 pm
I agree that if you are buying a new bike for touring, your best bet is to buy a touring bike. A touring bike has more than a dozen distinct features that make it more suitable for touring than other bikes, and some of those features may not even be evident to you until your third week on the road. Admittedly these features come at a cost of some weight, which may make you go one MPH more slowly. And you'll never be able to keep up with your friends on their weekly club ride on a touring bike. But if you look for a bike that will do everything well, you'll never buy a bike at all, or you'll have a bike that will do nothing well.

It's a different story if you're willing to go ultralight. But once you cross the line, the weight multiplies. Heavier gear requires better racks and better panniers, which are heavier, which then requires a stronger bike, which is yet again heavier.
Title: Re: Touring bikes...
Post by: Cat on March 15, 2013, 06:45:53 am
I agree that if you are buying a new bike for touring, your best bet is to buy a touring bike. But if you look for a bike that will do everything well, you'll never buy a bike at all, or you'll have a bike that will do nothing well.

Yea, I guess that is what I am trying to do... ???

Today I have been reading a lot about Salsa Vaya 3. That would be a good touring bike, right? As I would need a 54, I would get 700 tires. The disc brakes don´t seem to bad. I´ve been reading about them both here and elswhere. It seems that it is possible to take care of that squeeking.

If no new ideas will pop up in my head, I will probably end up with that one or a Surley.



Title: Re: Touring bikes...
Post by: RussSeaton on March 15, 2013, 06:14:10 pm
Today I have been reading a lot about Salsa Vaya 3. That would be a good touring bike, right? As I would need a 54, I would get 700 tires. The disc brakes don´t seem to bad.

The Salsa bike will make a fine touring bike for heavy loaded touring.  And lightly loaded touring too.  Pretty much identical to the Surly Long Haul Trucker, Trek 520, REI Novara Randonnee.  All are 9 speed I think.  Triple crankset.  Bar end shifters.  Steel frame and fork.  All will work fine.
Title: Re: Touring bikes...
Post by: DaveB on March 16, 2013, 08:41:01 am
The Salsa bike will make a fine touring bike for heavy loaded touring.  And lightly loaded touring too.  Pretty much identical to the Surly Long Haul Trucker, Trek 520, REI Novara Randonnee.  All are 9 speed I think.  Triple crankset.  Bar end shifters.  Steel frame and fork.  All will work fine.
And, these all have such similar geometry and dimensions that choosing one over the other depends more on availability, cost, dealer convenience and color preference that any minor "fitting" differences and those can be dialed out with minor stem an saddle changes.
Title: Re: Touring bikes...
Post by: Pat Lamb on March 16, 2013, 09:49:51 am
Today I have been reading a lot about Salsa Vaya 3. That would be a good touring bike, right? As I would need a 54, I would get 700 tires. The disc brakes don´t seem to bad.

The Salsa bike will make a fine touring bike for heavy loaded touring.  And lightly loaded touring too.  Pretty much identical to the Surly Long Haul Trucker, Trek 520, REI Novara Randonnee.  All are 9 speed I think.  Triple crankset.  Bar end shifters.  Steel frame and fork.  All will work fine.

To Cat, don't get caught up in "analysis paralysis."  It's a lot of fun to obsess over the tiny details between choices; however, this being March, pick one, reserve the bike, and forget about it.  Move on to something else -- is the visibility of yellow panniers worth the blaring color over a nice green or brown?

One nit on Russ' response, the Randonnee is a 10 speed for the last couple years.

And FWIW, the Randonnee is the second least expensive choice with a stock front crank smaller than 30 teeth, listing at $1200.  (At least a couple weeks ago.)  The Jamis Aurora is least expensive at $950, though you might want a bigger rear cluster, followed by the LHT around $1350 and the 520 at $1500.  I personally spend a lot of time in my bottom two gears when I'm riding loaded, and the Salsa Vaya is geared a bit high, at least for me -- plus it's more expensive than the four models above. 

Uh-oh, did I just feed the obsession?
Title: Re: Touring bikes...
Post by: dkoloko on March 16, 2013, 10:18:33 am
the Salsa Vaya is geared a bit high, at least for me -- plus it's more expensive than the four models above. 


I advise a novice who is going to do fully loaded touring to have lowest possible gear; if you need it, you have it; if you don't, just limit your shifting to your higher gears. For the Vaya, for you, I recommend swapping the 30 tooth chainwheel for a 24.
Title: Re: Touring bikes...
Post by: Cat on March 16, 2013, 01:02:31 pm
Uh-oh, did I just feed the obsession?
Haha You sure did!
But... I think I will deal with the pannier color once in Portland... so don´t worry - I won´t start a pannier-color-thread here ;D




Title: Re: Touring bikes...
Post by: RussSeaton on March 16, 2013, 05:54:02 pm
One nit on Russ' response, the Randonnee is a 10 speed for the last couple years.

And FWIW, the Randonnee is the second least expensive choice with a stock front crank smaller than 30 teeth, listing at $1200.  (At least a couple weeks ago.)  The Jamis Aurora is least expensive at $950, though you might want a bigger rear cluster, followed by the LHT around $1350 and the 520 at $1500.  I personally spend a lot of time in my bottom two gears when I'm riding loaded, and the Salsa Vaya is geared a bit high, at least for me -- plus it's more expensive than the four models above. 

OK on the 10 speed for the REI bike.  A friend bought one last year and I overhauled it for him.  I forgot what its cassette and bar end shifters were.  I have a 10 speed cassette and STI shifters on my touring bike.  I find they work just fine.  9 or 10 speed, both are durable enough.

I'd agree you should go with the cheapest of the bikes mentioned.  All are identical enough to not make a difference.  All can have their gearing changed to be low or lower.  The triple cranksets will take 22 teeth if a four arm mountain bike crank using 64mm bcd.  Or will take 24 teeth if a road triple with 74mm bcd inner ring.  And all will take a 32 or 34 tooth rear cassette.  Hopefully anyone buying any of these bikes will DEMAND a 22 or 24 tooth ring in front and a 32 or 34 rear cog in back.  Before they leave the shop.
Title: Re: Touring bikes...
Post by: Pat Lamb on March 16, 2013, 06:45:08 pm
I'd agree you should go with the cheapest of the bikes mentioned.  All are identical enough to not make a difference.  All can have their gearing changed to be low or lower.  The triple cranksets will take 22 teeth if a four arm mountain bike crank using 64mm bcd.  Or will take 24 teeth if a road triple with 74mm bcd inner ring.  And all will take a 32 or 34 tooth rear cassette.  Hopefully anyone buying any of these bikes will DEMAND a 22 or 24 tooth ring in front and a 32 or 34 rear cog in back.  Before they leave the shop.

I think that's a reasonable hope.  However, I can imagine Cat getting into Portland in the middle of busy bike shop season, and she may do well to get any new bike fit to her.  The dealer should cut her a deal to change the crank, but will he have the parts and the shop time to make a change?  I ran into a shop (in Anacortes) taking the bike and scheduling disassembly and shipping 10 days later.  Paying for a hotel for 2-3 extra nights while a part gets shipped in could get expensive, not to mention the "My riding time is slipping away!" factor.  That's why I tossed out all the 50/40/30 posers and concentrated on lower stock gearing.
Title: Re: Touring bikes...
Post by: RussSeaton on March 16, 2013, 10:34:15 pm
I think that's a reasonable hope.  However, I can imagine Cat getting into Portland in the middle of busy bike shop season, and she may do well to get any new bike fit to her.  The dealer should cut her a deal to change the crank, but will he have the parts and the shop time to make a change?

I don't think it would be too difficult to arrange with the bike shop to have the bike in the right size, AND demand ahead of time that they change the rear cassette, inner chainring.  A new inner chainring of 22 teeth for 64mm bcd or 24 teeth for 74mm bcd is a standard item in every bike shop in the country.  You only need the inner ring, not a new crankset.  And a 9 or 10 speed cassette of 11-32 or 11-34 is also a standard item.  Every bike shop in the country will have these replacement parts on the shelf.  No need to order them.  Changing a cassette, chain, inner chainring is a 30 minute job at most.  So demanding these things be done when you pick up the bike should not be too much.  If so, then buy the bike from another shop.  Portland is a big town with lots of bike shops.
Title: Re: Touring bikes...
Post by: paddleboy17 on March 18, 2013, 01:05:13 pm
Every time I have bought a stock bike, they have swapped parts for the difference in value between the parts.  The bike shop eats the labor as that is part of the cost of selling the bike.  I think they budget and hour of shop time to get the bike ready, and if they have to build the bike up, there is no shop labor to eat as they have to put a crank and cluster on it anyways.

If the shop you pick wants to start gouging you for shop labor, as it has been said, buy somewhere else.
Title: Re: Touring bikes...
Post by: dkoloko on March 19, 2013, 02:32:29 pm
Every time I have bought a stock bike, they have swapped parts for the difference in value between the parts. 

Good to try, but I have been told shop would only allow 50 percent of value of part swapped toward cost of new part. Yours to decide if that is acceptable.

Title: Re: Touring bikes...
Post by: Cat on March 19, 2013, 03:48:16 pm
Well we will see. I have fallen for the 2013 Salsa Vaya 3. After being in contact with bike stores - it looks like this bike was all sold out from Salsa in November 2012 :'( Who could have believed that?? In a consuming society like the US? Not me.
Title: Re: Touring bikes...
Post by: RussSeaton on March 19, 2013, 05:17:28 pm
Well we will see. I have fallen for the 2013 Salsa Vaya 3. After being in contact with bike stores - it looks like this bike was all sold out from Salsa in November 2012.

The Salsa Vaya 3 has a retail price of $1400.  Very similar in price to the other bikes mentioned.  Surly LHT, Trek 520, REI Novara Randonee.  Its pretty much identical to the other bikes.  Steel frame/fork, lower cost but acceptable Shimano parts.  For some odd reason it has 32 spoke wheels.  Its generally advisable to have 36 spokes for touring wheels.  But any of the bikes mentioned in this thread will work as well as the Salsa bike.  So if its sold out, get one of the others.  No harm.
Title: Re: Touring bikes...
Post by: Cat on March 23, 2013, 05:27:27 pm
It is nearly a month since this woman posted her initial question, and she has yet to decide even the type of bike she should  buy. I suggested she concentrate on that....

I can´t resist cutting a quote from dkoloko.  :) I almost became a farmer this month too, so I have struggeld with quite a few decisions during these past months...  :P
Anyways - you have been very helpful - I thought I let you know what bike it is going to be.

Ta da!  http://salsacycles.com/bikes/2012_vaya

The brakes will be upgraded, the gearing might be a triple and the tires won´t be that fat.

Thanks!
Title: Re: Touring bikes...
Post by: adventurepdx on March 24, 2013, 02:35:22 am
Anyways - you have been very helpful - I thought I let you know what bike it is going to be.
Ta da!  http://salsacycles.com/bikes/2012_vaya
The brakes will be upgraded, the gearing might be a triple and the tires won´t be that fat.
Thanks!

Hey Cat! Intrepid tourers Russ and Laura of Path Less Pedaled currently have Salsa Vayas. A very thorough write-up here:
http://pathlesspedaled.com/2012/12/salsa-vaya-1000-mile-review-or-our-thoughts-on-salsa-vaya-vs-surly-lht/ (http://pathlesspedaled.com/2012/12/salsa-vaya-1000-mile-review-or-our-thoughts-on-salsa-vaya-vs-surly-lht/)

And there are a few Salsa dealers in Portland, too.
http://salsacycles.com/dealers/results/region/OR (http://salsacycles.com/dealers/results/region/OR)
Title: Re: Touring bikes...
Post by: dkoloko on March 24, 2013, 12:22:52 pm
It is nearly a month since this woman posted her initial question, and she has yet to decide even the type of bike she should  buy. I suggested she concentrate on that....

I can´t resist cutting a quote from dkoloko.  :) I almost became a farmer this month too, so I have struggeld with quite a few decisions during these past months...  :P
Anyways - you have been very helpful - I thought I let you know what bike it is going to be.

Ta da!  http://salsacycles.com/bikes/2012_vaya

The brakes will be upgraded, the gearing might be a triple and the tires won´t be that fat.

Thanks!

No criticism intended for time it took you to choose a bike. I questioned side-track to ultra lightweight bicycle travel niche. I thought as a novice you had enough to think about in choosing a bike to buy. I stated even type of bike, because earlier you had not settled on a touring bike, considering also a cross bike. Best wishes on your choice, and may you have a very enjoyable and memorable tour.
Title: Re: Touring bikes...
Post by: Cat on March 26, 2013, 03:44:17 am


[/quote]
No criticism intended for time it took you to choose a bike. I questioned side-track to ultra lightweight bicycle travel niche. I thought as a novice you had enough to think about in choosing a bike to buy. I stated even type of bike, because earlier you had not settled on a touring bike, considering also a cross bike. Best wishes on your choice, and may you have a very enjoyable and memorable tour.
[/quote]

Oh, I know  :)  Thank you, I am very much looking forward to it!